There have been many instances in my life that, after the dust settled and things calmed down I was able to see with a clear mind that good things came out of what I first say as a purely negative situation.
I don’t know if I believe the saying “everything happens for a reason” but I do believe that you can almost always find something positive out of a bad situation.
When I decided to leave art school, I felt like it was the worst decision I had ever made. But I still made it because a part of me knew I had to. I spent several years after doubting everything, and as I watched my former classmates on social media go through school and graduate, I often wondered if I made a mistake.
But then, I got pregnant and I had my beautiful little boy. I know that if I had made a different decision, if I had stayed in Boston or gone back to Chicago instead of to Pittsburgh, my 2 year old wouldn’t be here today and that makes it all okay. (plus, as it turns out, I have a much bigger message to send and more to do with my life besides photography).
When my son was first born, my husband was out of work. Honestly, there were 5 adults (plus the baby) living in our house and not one source of income! Holy crap that was scary for a while. And it was stressful and that was when my anxiety and panic attacks were at their worst.
I was trying to help my husband job hunt while dealing with pdd, take care of a new born and hold my shit together was hard. My husband got a job when our son was 4 months old (everyone else got work too, don’t worry!). It was hard but I know looking back it was so so amazing to have all three of us together for those first months. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.
The most recent example is that I lost my babysitter for my son, at least as often as I need it to work on my business. At first I was overwhelmed and angry, I sobbed to my husband for a while. But then we finally made the decision to put him in childcare for 1 or 2 days a week. This is something we’ve wavered on for months but without this situation where I haven’t had work time or self care time, we’ve realized how essential it is and how great it will be for him to be with other kids.
I’m not an expert at this practice but it can make a hard situation a lot more manageable. The sooner you can see the positives, the less rough your road will seem.
Share: What recent negative or bad situation can you look at with a fresh pair of eyes to see how it created something positive in your life?
ps- I didn’t come in to this post with the intention of making every example about my son but well..there it is!
I am making goals and taking action but suddenly it’s becoming too much because I’m lacking the vital support I need to do this.
This post is part of my Free Write Friday Series. Sometimes I just need to get the thoughts and words out of my head and into this space. And so I free write. I invite you to join me on Friday’s when you need it. Please link up in the comments below.
Sign up for “Intro To (art) Journaling For Your Wellness: 6 Day FREE Challenge” by clicking here.
One of my biggest recommendations and personal ways to improve your wellness or start your path to self discovery has always been writing. Journaling. I realized the other day I’ve never shared the reasons WHY I think this is such a great tool for anyone to practice.
What do I consider journaling?
I love journals that are just words and journals that are considered “art journals”. (check out my art journal category!) Both are great ways to express yourself and I have been using both for my wellness and personal use for almost 10 years now. So when I talk about “journaling” I’m talking about either kind of journal, but the most important aspect of both is that they are created by your own hands.
It’s a physical book, a pen or pencil in your hand and paper in front of you. It’s not a word document on your computer or an app on your phone. It’s real, tangible, something you can hold and doodle on, something you can rip apart or burn, something you can cry on and carry with you.
I know some people are hesitant to start any kind of journaling practice, because they wonder, “what if I do it wrong?” There is no right and there is no wrong, ever.
My style has evolved many times over the years and while I used to love the mixed media look in journals, I am now enamored with simplicity, white space and the beauty of just words and ink on the page. I know myself as well as some friends who are obsessed with pretty notebooks. But then we get home and think, “I have to do something awesome in this, so I’ll wait.” Stop waiting. Get a cheap notebook from the clearance section of an art store, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. Experiment, let go.
1- It’s important for you to journal to learn from the mistakes and the joys to grow for your future.
The years speed by and often times we don’t get a break to really take a moment and realize what is going on in our lives. Sure, we notice the slip ups, the “failures” and the successes, but how often do you really take the time to sit down and think about what it all means? How does it apply to your life and how do these experiences help you grow?
I’m all about learning about and being our authentic selves and one of the best ways to do that is to take time to remember the mistakes and the joys from the past year and think about how they can propel you forward into the next. A few weeks ago, I took a look at something I wrote last year when I was in the deep throes of my anxiety, it was great to look back to see how far I’ve come.
2- Journaling is the best way to solidify your goals and dreams.
Yes! The more you journal, the more you will learn about what you want. If I sat down and leafed through my journals from a few years ago, through art school, 3 different moves, an engagement, a pregnancy and a baby later…my life is so different. But you know what’s not? The truth of some of my goals and dreams.
If I look back almost 4 years ago to when I was 18, my journals would tell me I yearned to be free, to live on the road and have my own business. If I take a peak into my journal from last month, it reveals the same dreams. How cool is that? The most important part of this is learning to be honest with yourself, you have to show up at the page and be willing to write what is true to you.
3- You can create your own kind of meditation practice and learn to release any negative emotions and thoughts.
I’ve recently finally figured out how to meditate, for real. But my go to to focus my mind, much like meditation, is journaling. As my hand flows over the page, the words pour out of me and my anxieties and self doubt get put on the page and when it’s over? I can take a breath and feel more centered and more at peace.
4- Journaling is a great way to record your memories for yourself, make mementos for your loved ones and record your story.
Like I said, this year has gone fast. And if I didn’t journal, I would often times forget some of the best memories even though they were small at the time. I love using words to paint a picture and writing down how I felt the day my son learned how to sit or when my fiance and I finally got a to go on a date, it’s the little things that are important. My grandmother passed away a few years ago and one of my favorite things she left behind where notebooks filled with stories. Stories from when she grew up (during The Great Depression). I love to see her handwriting, hear her voice in the words and learn things I never knew about her. Not all of my journaling is quite as coherent, but I like to hope my some-day grandchildren will still appreciate it.
5- There is no better way to follow the path of self discovery and truth than to journal.
I have clinical depression and an anxiety disorder, and one of my ways to healing is to learn more about who I am. I dropped out of art school after 1 year and my passions were broken and I felt lost. I have journaled my whole life and some times it takes writing down our thoughts to really figure out what we’re thinking, ya know?
Perhaps your journaling practice won’t always lead to a larger epiphany, perhaps you won’t break the block you’ve had with a bigger project. But perhaps it will. At the very least, you will have taken the time not only to create without rules but to create just for you, to breathe, to focus inward.
Because I love journaling so much and want to help you (yes,YOU!) on your journey to wellness…I’ve created a 6 day free challenge called “Intro To (art) Journaling For Your Wellness”
This 6 day free challenge was born out of wanting to help women jump start their path to wellness and teach a little about journaling in all forms. This challenge is for any women looking to start an journal practice and feel guided to use this as a part of their wellness journey.
There will be 6 prompts spread out over a 2 week period, as well as 2 technique tutorials to learn from. This free challenge includes a private space for you to share your pages, talk about journaling and wellness and make connections.